• Give a Gift
  • Customer Service
  • Promotions
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Win
  • Games

November 21, 2011

New Workout: Shaking Things Up

Can a buzzy new 30-minute workout be the key to a lean, sculpted physique?

Share
Special Offer

I'm no exercise junkie, but as a former ballet dancer, I've been fit most of my life. Today, as an office 9-to-7'er, I get it: Who has time to work out?

Enter the Power Plate, an accelerated (read: torturous) fitness method where an oscillating platform amps up ordinary exercises (like calf raises and bicep curls) for a full-body workout that lasts just 30 minutes. Think this is some wussy remake of those retro fat-jiggling contraptions? Think again. Russian scientist Vladimir Nazarov introduced vibrational resistance training to astronauts in the '60s to help rebuild bone mass depleted in space. In 1999, Dutch Olympic trainer Guus van der Meer started marketing the concept as Power Plate throughout Europe. Now it's making ripples stateside.

The theory is simple: A strong current is sent through the muscles, causing reflexive contractions between 25 and 50 times per second. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research recently reported that muscle activity is boosted by up to 300 percent on the Power Plate compared with doing the same exercises on the floor. The purported result? Long, lean muscles like Elle Macpherson's (she's a devotee, along with Hilary Swank and Rachel Weisz) in no time.

That's all the evidence I need to hightail it to Station Fitness in NYC, Manhattan's first Power Plate studio, where five high-tech machines have replaced the usual gym equipment. Dennis Brabham, who credits Power Plate for his 3 percent body fat, sets my machine for 45-second increments and tells me to hop on. "Keeping your knees slightly bent allows you to absorb the maximum vibrations, which make your muscles work up to four times harder," he explains. I hit the start button (which I press again before each exercise) and find my muscles immediately firing. When I straighten my knees, the vibrations even hit my face, causing my teeth to chatter. (Thankfully, this stops when I unlock my knees.) I'm convinced it's working already.

Just as I'm getting used to the shaking sensation, the real workout begins with a series of squats. "Cheating is for slackers," barks Brabham, as I attempt to micro-bend my knees. Wait. Did he just call me a slacker? Never one to resist a challenge (did you see Black Swan?), I muster up enough quad strength to dip down and back up just once before my machine shuts off. Success! But my sheer joy is cut short as I'm ordered to perform another excruciating round — this time, squatting on tempo to The Black Eyed Peas blaring over the speakers. I barely manage nine reps. Great. I'm only minutes into the workout, and my legs feel like they're about to blow.

Ten minutes later, we transition to an upper-body series of agonizing tricep dips and push-ups. I stare at the clock as it counts down while my arms shake from sheer exhaustion. Five, four, three, two, one ... hallelujah! At the 20-minute mark, I'm drained, which is apparently a good sign. "To build lean muscle mass, the muscles have to become completely fatigued, which takes about a minute per move on the Power Plate," says Brabham.

As we wrap up with a few stretches, I'm reminded of how I used to feel after a ballet performance: strong, accomplished, and physically depleted — in a good way.

After I return for my fourth workout, I notice tone in my arms (is that a tricep?) and a lower-ab tightness I haven't felt in years. While it's not my job, Power Plate might just be the way to keep in shape given my new cube-jockey schedule.


Share
Connect with Marie Claire:
Advertisement
horoscopes
daily giveaway
One (1) winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $188) and a year’s supply of hair products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $108).

One (1) winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $188) and a year’s supply of hair products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $108).

enter now
You Know You Want More
More From Health News and Fitness Trends
The "Angelina Effect" Doubled the Number of Breast-Cancer Gene Tests

A new study finds her BRCA-1 gene mutation inspired others to get tested.

Primary Protection: The History of the Pill

This little gal has gone through quite the journey.

The Rebel Diet

Born to eat wild? Have an on-again, off-again relationship with healthy eating? You'll love the latest weight-loss news.

post a comment

Special Offer
Link Your Marie Claire Account to Facebook
Welcome!

Marie Claire already has an account with this email address. Link your account to use Facebook to sign in to Marie Claire. To insure we protect your account, please fill in your password below.

Forgot Password?

Thanks for Joining

Your information has been saved and an account has been created for you giving you full access to everything marieclaire.com and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your username and/or password or complete your profile, click here.

Continue
Your accounts are now linked

You now have full access to everything Marie Claire and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your settings or profile, click here.

Continue